The concept of engagement in eHealth

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Background: Engagement can be seen as the emotional involvement or commitment with an intervention. This concept is often used as the reason why an intervention is effective for one individual and not another. In theory, engagement could be used to assess, early on in an eHealth intervention, whether the selected intervention has a high chance of being effective. Based on this assessment, when needed, participants may be redirected to other, more fitting, interventions, increasing the overall effectiveness of the intervention process. However, the term engagement is ill-defined and has been used in many different ways. As a first step in making the concept of engagement more useful for selecting the right intervention for each individual, two studies are carried out to clarify the concept.
Methods: First, 19 engaged health-app users are interviewed about what engagement means to them. Second, a systematic review is conducted, focusing on the definition of engagement and the theories behind the concept.

Findings: First results from the interviews indicate that engaged users really feel that the health app is important to them and fits with them as a person. Second, it is important that using the app yields positive results. The systematic review points towards a very broad use of the term engagement (e.g. work engagement, patient engagement, engagement to online health interventions), but all with some commonalities. More results will be available at the time of the conference.
Discussion: Engagement is a concept that may be very important in understanding and increasing the use and effectiveness of eHealth interventions. This study sheds light on the meaning of the concept from both a theoretical and user side. Future research should focus on how to measure engagement early on in eHealth interventions to use this as a way to select the right intervention for each individual.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Event8th Conference Supporting Health By Technology 2018 - University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jun 20181 Jun 2018
Conference number: 8


Conference8th Conference Supporting Health By Technology 2018
Abbreviated titleHealthbyTech 2018
Internet address


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